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On Departing New York

In less than two months, I’ll be leaving New York City. This gargantuan, inspiring, and maddening place has been my home for virtually all of my adult life. I’m feeling at a loss.

It’s not just any city. Living in New York requires working yourself to the bone, toughening up, pushing past your comfort zone, and tolerating all kinds of human beings. It forces you to keep your motivations in check. You learn to value people and experiences as part of the process. I take a lot of pride in calling it my home. It’s shaped my character in so many ways that I’ll carry with me as I move on.

When I leave, New York will inevitably surge forward without me. I fear that when I return, I’ll be demoted to visitor status. I cringe at the thought of no longer be able to recognize neighborhoods and storefronts, at not being able to navigate the subways with the same dexterity that I once had. I wonder if, when I come back, it will have lost its luster. One of my favorite quotes from the Great Gatsby, a novel that I appreciate because of its portrayal of New York, captures my sentiment so precisely:

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”

I have so much more to learn about myself by slowing down and changing my perspective. And with this move, I welcome the upcoming change and the excitement that comes with it.


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